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Hydrogen economy and such

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  • drocketman@juno.com
    Yep, we are in a state of denial about our global energy situation. And it is no help that the price of fossil fuels will not suddenly go up by a factor of 10
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 11, 2001
      Yep, we are in a state of denial about our global energy situation.
      And it is no help that the price of fossil fuels will not suddenly go
      up by a factor of 10 and shake the masses into a new course of
      consumption. So the infrastructure of any "new system" that follows
      will be evolutionary. "Evolution" is exactly the right word to use
      here. Like Kevin said, it is unrealistic to expect a magic bullet
      that will transform our energy use patterns into a sustainable
      system. This would be like expecting a single cell organism to
      evolve quickly into a dog. However, the true path of development
      will not be as random as evolution. After all, we do have brains to
      plan our path of energy evolution, right? But is that collective
      brain one of truely forward thinking technologists or of the almighty
      dollar? (methinks it is mostly the brain of the almighty dollar and
      some of the forward thinkers) The road to sustainability will be
      paved with its share of dead-ends, looks-good-but-turns-out-bad, is-
      good-but-waits-for-complementary-changes, works-for-a-while, and is-

      Any invention or system or idea for changing for the better will have
      to pass the greed test. Recall 8-track and cassette, Beta and VHS,
      and now DVD and VHS, CRT and Flat panel. Consumers will always
      eventually side with the better/cheaper mouse trap. The
      infrastructure will follow the dollars, too. This evolution will not
      be accelerated to any historically noted degree by the desires and
      urgings of visionaries or held back by the greed of a few. It will
      take a steady course that is dominated by the limitations of the
      resources and Joe-consumer's taking notice of Fred Smart's new
      better/faster/cheaper wheels.

      A hydrogen based economy is a great idea. I remember reading 25 or
      so years ago from a very extensive study of how such an economy could
      be realized in a book that I think was entitled "Hydrogenergy". From
      what I can remember it was extremely insightful, adressed
      infrastructure extensively, and would probably still be an excellent
      road map.

      As for the media's effect on our progress, I'd like to think that in
      our society of intelligent consumers, rewarded for good choices and
      penalized for bad ones, we mostly "buy" the truth and ignore the

      My suggestion is to be the best consumer you can be. Occacionally
      take chances on new products and invest in companies you expect to
      turn the energy profit.

    • Jim Akkerman
      Technical Feasibility of Space Solar Power Summary of Statement of Ralph H. Nansen, President Solar Space Industries Before the House of Representatives
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 12, 2001
        Technical Feasibility of Space Solar Power

        Summary of Statement of Ralph H. Nansen,

        President Solar Space Industries

        Before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

        September 7, 2000

        Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for inviting me here
        today to testify about the feasibility of Space Solar Power. The last time I
        appeared before this Subcommittee was in 1978 when I accompanied the
        President of Boeing Aerospace Company to testify concerning the same
        subject. At that time I was Program Manager for Solar Power Satellites for
        the Boeing Company. Today I am retired from Boeing and am currently the
        President of Solar Space Industries, a company I formed in 1993 to promote
        the development of Solar Power Satellites. I also wrote an advocacy book
        about Solar Power Satellites in 1995 titled, SUN POWER: The Global Solution
        for the Coming Energy Crisis.

        Much has change in the last 22 years since I was last here, but one thing
        that hasn't changed is the fact that Solar Power Satellites are still not
        under development. However, the time is now right for their development to

        The studies conducted in the late 1970's determined technical feasibility
        and the potential promise of Solar Power Satellites for delivering,
        abundant, low-cost, nonpolluting electric energy to all the nations of the
        world.. Studies since that time have reaffirmed this conclusion. In addition
        much of the infrastructure that did not exist in the 1970's has been
        developed for other programs, dramatically reducing the development costs.

        A low cost reusable space transportation system required for space solar
        power has not yet been developed. However, Solar Power Satellites would
        provide a large enough market to justify its development.

        The need to develop space solar power is becoming more apparent as we see
        energy demand growing throughout the world, energy prices rapidly
        increasing, oil reserves dwindling, and the threat of global warming. Space
        solar power can solve these problems.

        A potential interim step is transmitting energy from one location, that has
        excess energy capabilities, to another location on the earth by reflecting a
        wireless power transmission beam with a relay satellite in geosynchronous
        orbit. Because the relay satellite would be light in weight, it could be
        launched with existing expendable launch vehicles.

        One of the key issues before us today is what should the government be doing
        about space solar power. The development of the system should primarily be a
        commercial development, however, because of the size of the program required
        and the international implications it should start as a government/industry
        partnership. The primary role of the government would be to provide
        leadership and seed money to initiate the program, coordinate international
        agreements, support the development of high technology multi-use
        infrastructure, establish tax and funding incentives, and assume the risk of
        buying the first operational satellite.

        Industry can provide most of the developmental funding and be responsible
        for the design and development of the system. It is essential that the
        satellites and the space transportation system be developed in a commercial
        environment if they are to be viable commercial ventures.

        The following steps by the government would bring this about.

        1.. Assign a lead agency within the government. The Department of Energy
        is the logical lead agency with NASA providing the primary technology
        2.. Fund a Ground Test Program to demonstrate the satellite functions of
        power generation, the wireless power transmission system, and integration of
        the energy into a utility grid. This program would also demonstrate the
        capability of relay satellite power transmission.
        3.. Obtain frequency allocation for wireless power transmission.
        4.. Pass commercial space tax incentive bills, like the Zero Gravity, Zero
        Tax bill.
        5.. Incorporate testing for solar power satellite technology into the
        plans for the International Space Station.
        6.. Continue technology development for reusable space transportation
        7.. Consider the implementation of loan guarantees for commercial
        development of reusable space transportation systems.
        8.. Commit to the purchase of the first operational Solar Power Satellite.
        With this plan implemented the commercial industry would have enough
        confidence to proceed with development. Most important of all is the fact
        that whatever nation develops and controls the next major energy source will
        dominate the economy of the world.
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